Human development depends on many internal and external factors and events that affect an entire life. For this reason, scientists have created many developmental theories to explain how certain events or characteristics shape personality from different points of view. In this paper, I will analyze my life in terms of Fowler’s faith development theory, Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, and Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory to show the influence of key factors on my personality.
Fowler’s Faith Development Theory
The Christian faith has played a significant role in my life as two moderately religious parents raised me. According to Fowler’s faith theory, children do not know how to think abstractly at the intuitive-projective faith stage, so faith is a set of impressions but not ideas that children receive from adults (“Handout 1,” n.d.). My early memories and stories of my parents confirm this fact because I liked going to church with my parents and listening to the choir, and I was a good child because my mother said that God wants it. During the mythic-literal faith stage, my beliefs deepened, since, during this period, children begin to distinguish between truth and fiction and perceive the ideas of other adults (“Handout 1,” n.d.). However, I went to a Christian school where there was almost no opportunity to hear opinions or ideas that contradict the Bible.
I identified myself as a Christian during the synthetic-conventional faith stage and followed most of the rules, as I was surrounded by other people of authority who guided me. Fowler’s theory states that this aspect of outside authority is most important at this stage (“Handout 1,” n.d.). Today, religion still plays a significant role in my life but much less affects it because I more often question certain principles, rituals, and rules that was highly important to me. This manifestation demonstrates that I am in the individuative-reflective faith stage that manifested in rethinking one’s beliefs (“Handout 1,” n.d.). Therefore, the analysis of my life from the perspective of Fowler’s faith theory shows why religion has an important place in my life and why, currently, I more often question principles that were always absolute for me.
Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development, and Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory
Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, together with Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, explains many features of my humble, quiet temperament and anxiety. According to Piaget’s theory, at the sensorimotor stage, children perceive only objects in front of them and develop the first reflexes, skills, and trust in the world around them (Kuther, 2019). At this stage, parents play a critical role in providing all a child’s needs and protecting him or her from danger. My parents provided me with all necessary care; therefore, this development stage was standard and beneficial for me. Parents can also contribute to the child’s cognitive development through play, conversation, and explanation on the second preoperative stage because a child learns to perceive the world symbolically (Kuther, 2019). My parents spent a lot of time with me, so I had not experienced troubles at this stage.
However, in the third and fourth stages of development, when children learn to distinguish between good and evil, understand other people’s feelings, and perceive themselves as part of society, I faced challenges. My family is culturally diverse, since my father is Latino and my mother is Black, so I got a significant cultural background and perceived differences as part of the norm due to the home environment. However, my Afro-Latina origin has been a reason for being marginalized by most children and even adults because I am not entirely a member of any group. This social interaction led to my low self-esteem and anxiety that accompanied me all my life.
Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory supports the same ideas. According to the scientist, the language and customs inherited from the parents play a significant role in the child’s ways of thinking (Kuther, 2019). I differed in language from a group of African American peers and appearance from Latino children, which made me marginalized. At the same time, Vygotsky’s also argued that children adopt cultural practices and perspectives from peers and adults through cooperative dialogue (Kuther, 2019). However, since I was not part of the group, negative social interactions made me anxious. Thus, the combination of these theories demonstrates that although my cognitive development is typical, developmental challenges shaped my humble character and caused anxiety affecting my adult life.
Therefore, three different developmental theories explain how various factors influenced the formation of my personality. Fowler’s faith developmental theory demonstrates the foundations of my moral and ethical principles based on religion and my relative distance from Christianity compared to childhood. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development and Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory demonstrate that my ethnic origins and social environment influenced my development stages during adolescence and was likely the cause of my anxiety. Consequently, these theories explain the characteristics of my personality and, in some cases, the sources of the mental issue that need to be addressed.
Handout 1: Stages of faith development. (n.d.). Web.
Kuther, T.L. (2019). Child and adolescent development in context. SAGE.